Michelle Potter

Dance

‘Kristian Fredrikson: Designer’ The book

‘…he is able to create a world that fires the imagination.’

This book gives a unique insight into Fredrikson’s world, a world that spanned five decades of designing for dance, opera, theatre, film and musicals.

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‘Kristian Fredrikson: Designer’ has been in gestation over several years and has been researched largely in Australia where major collections of his personal papers and designs are held, and in New Zealand where Fredrikson was born and where his first design work was undertaken. But the research has also taken me to London, New York, Houston and La Mirande en Ardeche (in the French Alps) to interview dancers, choreographers, actors and wardrobe personnel with whom Fredrikson collaborated.

As the project moves towards publication in late 2019 I am attempting to raise money to assist with the cost of providing high-resolution images for inclusion in the book. A book of this nature needs a strong and diverse image component. The material I hope to use includes costume designs; photographs of artists wearing his costumes; pages from design ‘bibles’ where Fredrikson has included swatches of material from which the costumes should be made; and photographs of Fredrikson himself.

There are very few books about theatrical design in Australia, especially books that focus on an individual designer. This book goes part of the way to fill that gap. It has unusual qualities too because Fredrikson’s voice is very strong throughout as a result of material discovered in his collection of papers and designs in the National Library of Australia. Unpublished notes on design, and on the stories behind some of his best-known collaborations, add a very personal flavour to the text. The story behind Graeme Murphy’s’ Swan Lake’ is one example.

Funding of $5,000 is needed to purchase and manage the production of around 60 high-resolution images from collections where digitisation of Fredrikson material has not yet been undertaken; to pay reproduction fees demanded by some organisations, including some newspapers and art galleries; and to cover a small amount of interstate travel to select appropriate images.

Whatever you donate to this project will eventually have an impact on how this book will develop. I hope it will be full of the magical world that Fredrikson created with his designs. Costumier John Papadopoulos, who worked with Fredrikson on productions for Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Dance Company and Opera Australia said of Fredrikson, whom he regarded as his mentor: ‘His designs, they were immaculate. Immaculate. He was a national treasure.’

Fredrikson’s story deserves to be told.

I thank you in advance for your generosity and hope that you will enjoy the final product. In the meantime you may be interested in listening to an oral history interview with Fredrikson at the following link: https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-217150893/listen

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Michelle Potter is an arts writer, historian and curator. She is the recipient of two Australian Dance Awards, Services to dance in 2003 and Outstanding achievement in dance on film in 2001. She was inaugural Curator of Dance at the National Library of Australia, 2002–2006, and Curator, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, 2006–2008. Since returning to Australia she has worked in a freelance capacity.

She began writing about the arts in 1990 and her work has been published in magazines, newspapers, theatre programs and scholarly journals across Australia and around the world including in the UK, USA, Germany and New Caledonia. She is the creator of three documentary films and five books, most recently Dame Maggie Scott: a life in dance (Text: Melbourne, 2014). Her oral history recordings number 150 and have largely been for cultural institutions in Canberra. All have been with people working across the arts (dance, theatre, opera, visual arts, circus).

In 1994 she founded Brolga: an Australian journal about dance and continued to edit that journal until mid-2006. She established her website, Michelle Potter … on dancing, in 2009 and continues to publish reviews, articles and news items on that site.

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Links

Artists Website
https://michellepotter.org